Friday I went into town with an interpreter to complete what I thought would be an easy task: Pick some random people in the piazza and ask them whether they belong to a gym. My group member, Gino, is doing a story on the Italian healthcare system, and I’ve been assigned to the video portion of the project. The trick is, it’s illegal to film patients in any kind of medical clinic. So rather than have a video of a doctor reciting statistics, I thought I’d try to focus on the preventative health care spectrum—exercise, food, etc. Hence my mission.
Imagine: You’re walking across the sunny piazza, gelato in hand, when you spot two people looking in your direction and whispering to each other. The female, clad in a sweaty black tank-top, is cradling an object that resembles a large firearm. She nods, and her companion—a young man wearing shades—approaches you. “Excuse me, can we ask you a few questions?” he asks. The female smiles and raises her tripod.
I would not be surprised if you called the police, or at the very least punched me in the face and ran. The fact that I managed to interview three people for more than six seconds each is downright impressive, though it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time. Unfortunately, my complete lack of knowledge relating to videography apparently extends to the use of tripods, with the result that most of the footage I managed to capture demonstrates precisely the sort of action shots of stationary objects that we were instructed to avoid.
Afterward, my interpreter apologized for not being able to get more interviews. “People here are very close-minded, I think,” he said. But I have a feeling that it had much more to do with the presence of a very large contraption in the hands of a very inexperienced videographer. For now, I think I’ll go to the gym, and try again tomorrow.
Maybe by then I’ll have figured out the tripod.